Saturday, January 31, 2015

Columbia's crazy staff

Columbia's recording staff prior to 1900 was a real odd mix of oddities. From the Shakespearian actors to the minstrel nuts. Their manager must have been quite a handful to be able to somewhat deal with all of these "weirdos".
that's Columbia's manager for ya. It clearly states his name. 

The funny thing about Emerson is that all of the staff hated him. And since they all shared this hatred, they all could gang up on him when they wanted to do something for him. So to be kind to this reportedly asshole of a manager, they bought him various things on his birthday, invited him to the dinners that they hosted, and just tried to be as polite as possible in his presence. 
he must not have known how the minds of these eccentrics worked, as he was the type of manager who could get involved here and there and wasn't mentioned when he simply wasn't around. 
Columbia's staff had a little bit of everything in say, 1898. 
clearly this can be seen in the images below:
Russell Hunting was Columbia's criminal and monologue expert

"Freddy" Hylands, of course, was their pianist(anyone recognize the costume?)
Len Spencer was their Coon song king /chief recruiter/ trademark announcer
luckily his name is shown here, so Denny was their most vibrant comic song singer
Harry Spencer was their recording engineer/sound effects guy and the invention fanatic

J. W. Myers had several roles at Columbia, but if I could just say one, I would say that he was the record dictator. 
Dan W. Quinn was the older dandy swell and lesser known pianist 
Steve Porter was their rich guy and true progressivist.
with such and odd mix of minds and workings, arguments were almost certain, but a few of them were just too kind to get into such barbaric things. The only ones who would have dealt with literally everyone on Columbia's  staff was not only the manager, Mr. Emerson, but the pianist, Fred. Hylands. 

I hope you enjoyed this!

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